Podcast for 7.28.12. Available at youtube.com/CATV6. (Look for Robinhood Radio, hit videos, scroll to find.) Also available at Robinhoodradio.com. Same drill. Hit videos, scroll down, hit play.
We’re cutting today directly to the chase. These guys are toying with the rest of our lives.
Whether they know it or not, that’s what’s happening.
This was fine early in the spring when bozos bloomed under every tree. Remember them all? Michelle, Rick, Herman, John, Mitt, Newt, Tim, Ron? They were the best traveling show on television. We knew it and watched, mesmerized.
It didn’t make any difference whether Rick Perry could remember which three departments of the government he wanted to abolish immediately. That was human and funny. And Ron Pal could always be counted to tell it as it appeared to him, whether or not that vision could ever grow into reality. Michelle was off the wall and we waited each week for another demonstration of it. And what about the upside-down world of mathematics fostered by Herman Cain? Nine-nine-nine.
Most of us imagined that sooner rather than later, the campaign would turn serious, and issues and ideas would be addressed, plans for the nation’s future drawn, solutions to our very real economic problems discussed and outlined.
Guess what? We were wrong.
Just as wrong as we are in thinking that sooner or later, and no doubt sooner, Congress would come to its senses and begin to actually do in Washington what it was sent there to do: govern, lead, decide, protect and defend.
We imagined Mitch McConnell would have to come to his senses soon. Or at least John Boehner, who seemed desperately uncomfortable in his job leading a horde of non-Rabelaisian freshmen and women who were gradually overtaking him and would soon pass and depose without giving him a second thought.
We imagined that Congress, having led us to the brink of default, had learned its lesson, at least in terms of public relations, and never put us through that again.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Pundits kept reminding us that soon enough adults would rise to the top of the pond.
So now we remember Alfred E. Newman, Mad Magazine’s eternal mascot, with his never-answered questions: “What? Me Worry?” Alfred is us.
True enough, HE had ears eight sizes too large, freckles, buck-teeth, a cowlick that was unconquerable. And he was, after all, a kid.
Back then, we could laugh, knowing we were Americans, that, really, there was nothing to worry about that we couldn’t conquer, there was nothing deeply wrong with how we lived our lives. Alfred could worry for us about the small things: his path to adulthood, his first sexual experience, getting along with the guys.
He was us!
That, as they say, was then, and this is now. The election next November is hurtling at us without taking even ten seconds for serious consideration of the world in which we live, the obstacles that are new to us that have to be surmounted, the real separation of attitudes and philosophies that today divide us to an unsafe degree.
What’s worse, we have a national tragedy in Colorado and the best that our candidates, for almost every office, can do is take a day off from campaigning and then come back to tell us that anything we do will be restricting someone’s freedom!
If we didn’t believe fervently in democracy, most of us would say, Nuts! Go away and leave us alone. We wouldn’t vote for a single one of you!
But we can’t do that. Which is why the current situation is so distressing and consuming.
We should be hearing grow-up discussions of the real role of government in this country. Is it to help, aid, defend, protect, make lives livable rather than just bearable? Is it to devolve back to the several states who increasingly believe that they have what it takes to steer our ship of state?
The only people in the entire country who seem unable to understand how worried the general public is about the future is the US Congress. A perfect example of the games it is willing to play while Rome burns is the vote taken this week in the Senate, which would have extended temporary tax cuts to the middle class and lower earners without, for once, being tied to an unequal-sized tax cut for the very wealthy.
Commentators on both sides of the aisle were perfectly calm about this formerly blood-stained battle. Let the Senate pass what it wants; the House will never even take it up for discussion, let alone a serious vote.
That’s called stalemate, or gridlock, or futility in the face of failure.
There’s little point in listing the many uncertainties, political and otherwise, that plague our country today. Still and all, a partial list would include banks that no longer consider their depositors or customers of any kind worth caring about; the foreclosure tsunami, still hitting these shores in wave after wave; Iran’s nuclear capability; gun control; and not to put too fine a point on it, simply the Future.
How can people plan for retirement when they earn no income? How can a family of four feed itself when food stamps are considered welfare? How can emergency rooms throughout the nation meet the insistent demands of people who cannot afford, or even begin to dream of affording, health insurance?
Without new and hopeful ideas and solutions, Americans look at the future and see nothing but doubt, uncertainty, a lowering of its standard of living, a lack of a viable and valuable future.
Billions will be spent on this election, money far better spent in solving some of our problems, i.e., infrastructure, job creation, lowering health costs, safety in the skies, a dependable and ever-growing food source.
No candidate for any office seems to care about this kind of waste.
The electorate does. Deeply.
Which is why the continuation of this past Spring’s Silly Season is so frustrating and ultimately demeaning to the country. There are important matters to be discussed. Our very futures are being buried under lava of a million words which may, in the future, reveal to the world how the United States came to its collapse.
Mr. Obama has lost innumerable opportunities to make our daily hazards and his putative solutions to them clear to the public. Mr. Romney seems able only to marshall the one sure approach that disqualifies him from his victory: he keeps saying “Trust me.”
And we somehow are expected to make an informed decision about these two men?
You know what? Adults are listening now to children misbehaving. But that makes it sound less serious than it is.
The country is in trouble and people who say they are qualified to lead us out of the mess are only talking at each other, not to us.
Of course, this is easy to say. But this has to stop.